The Challenges of a Challenging Bucket List
Some days we may feel as if we’re still 18 years old, while other days we feel exactly our age. It’s on those youthful days that we may get a hankering to complete one of those tasks on our “bucket list.” Unfortunately, just because we’re feeling young and confident doesn’t mean we’re ready to hike up a mountain, especially if we’ve never climbed one!
It’s one thing if we take the time to train properly for a focused, long-term goal. However, even then we must face the fact that as we age, our bodies may suffer from wear and tear. Our joints may get less lubrication and are therefore less elastic. For some, balance may start to go, or eyesight, hearing and reaction time change.
These less-than-perfect conditions can mean that we may be more prone to injure ourselves as we age, particularly if we try to pursue activities from our youth. Even worse, when we do suffer an injury, it can take longer to recover.
With all this said, it’s important to have goals. There’s nothing wrong with starting a bucket list; it’s just that we may want to tackle the more physically demanding activities first, when our bodies are younger and healthier. Also, it’s important to be realistic not only about what we can and cannot do, but about what we should and should not do. For example, in 2016 there was a 21.5 percent uptick in the number of motorcycle fatalities among baby boomers age 60 and up.1 It’s likely that every one of those riders believed they would be just fine riding their motorcycle. Unfortunately, we don’t always know what we don’t know, even about ourselves.
It’s good to have goals. If you haven’t already, consider starting a bucket list and adding to it throughout your lifetime. Just be realistic about what you can do from both a physical and financial perspective. While regular exercise is important, think about adding books you’ve never read, places you’ve never been and movies you haven’t seen.
1 Alexandria News. Oct. 16, 2017. “Motorcycle Fatalities Up 21.5 Percent Among Baby Boomers Who Are 60 Years Old And Older.” http://www.alexandrianews.org/2017/10/motorcycle-fatalities-up-21-5-percent-among-baby-boomers-who-are-60-years-old-and-older/. Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.
Money Saving Tips
What Boomers Want in a Vacation
According to a recent survey from AARP, this year baby boomers say they’re planning to take four or five leisure trips for an average total of about $6,400 in travel expenses. Nearly a quarter (22 percent) report they’ll take a bucket list trip, and nearly half of boomers say they plan to travel inside the U.S., citing California and Florida as their top destinations.1
Perhaps it’s the current political environment, or maybe because many are caught in a “sandwich generation” situation in which they’re spread thin by family demands, but the percentage of baby boomers seeking to relax and rejuvenate on vacation rose to 49 percent from 38 percent last year.2
With this in mind, we may find more members of the baby boom generation soaking up the rays in beach chairs rather than climbing ropes and jumping off ziplines this year. When planning a vacation, there are two good guidelines to bear in mind:
- What do you feel like doing?
- What can you afford to do?
Both of these guidelines should be within the context of what’s going on in your life this year. For example, don’t feel as if you need to take that river cruise through Denmark if you may need to replace the roof this year. Just because that’s the next item on your bucket list doesn’t mean it has to be the next one you complete. Look further down the list, or add something less expensive to the list, like taking salsa lessons.
Consider your mood as well. If you’re not in a good place, you may not enjoy an expensive vacation. If all you want to do is lie in the sun, drink mai tais and take long naps, you don’t necessarily need to go to the Caribbean to do that. A quick trip to the nearest coastline — or even renting a lake cabin at a state park — could be just as restorative for a lot less money.
Vacations are important, but they should be balanced with other financial obligations. Like retirement savings, it’s a good idea to set aside a little money each month toward annual vacations. That way you won’t tear a hole in your budget or run up credit card balances.
Finally, there’s a lot to be said for the perks of planning. Not only are you better able to uncover discounts and inexpensive options, but planning ahead gives you a nice long time to look forward to your vacation and get in the right mood to embrace it.
1 Richard D’Ambrosio. Travel Market Report. Dec. 14, 2017. “Baby Boomers Want to Relax and Rejuvenate in 2018.” http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Baby-Boomers-Want-to-Relax-and-Rejuvenate-in-2018. Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.
Flying First Class
Have you ever flown first class? Enjoyed the comforts of warm nuts, noise-canceling headphones and a lie-flat bed on a long flight? This could make an interesting entry onto your bucket list. Here are some ideas on ways to make it more affordable:1
- Use frequent-flier miles to upgrade your ticket to first class
- Use credit card rewards points to upgrade your ticket to first class
- Buy a first-class ticket for just one leg of your trip, then go coach for the rest
- Be flexible about travel dates so you have the best chance to get a good rate
- Check out rates while you’re at the airport; some airlines offer a discount when purchased onsite
- Get the most bang for your buck by researching foreign airlines; one ratings firm reports the best 30 airlines in the world are outside the U.S.
1 Gregory Karp. MarketWatch. Jan. 26, 2018. “How to fly first class — because you should try it at least once.” https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-fly-first-classbecause-you-should-try-it-at-least-once-2018-01-26. Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.